One surprising new character and another well known supporting actor will play leading roles when the final act of the Schenectady Classic opens Sunday morning at Schenectady Municipal Golf Course.
First-time tournament competitor Tyler Gregory, who grabbed the second-round lead with a sensational 5-under-par 67 Saturday, and first-round leader Lance Hope, a two-time runner-up, will be in the final group and will be the favorites to win their first Schenectady Classic title on the traditional Father’s Day event finale.
Gregory, an 18-year-old Niskayuna High School graduate who is transferring from Mount St. Mary’s to Marist College beginning this fall, leads the 54-hole tournament with a 5-under-par 139, followed by the 44-year-old Hope, the reigning Troy Invitational champ, with a 140. Five shots back are former Schenectady Classic titlist Ben Bates (70-145) and eight-time tournament winner Jim Mueller (72-145).
Mary Scatena of Pinehaven Country Club rallied with a 75 in the final round to catch two-time defending champion Nancy Kroll and force a playoff, eventually winning the women’s division on the second extra hole with a birdie.
Gregory, who plays out of Mohawk Golf Club, opened the tournament with an even-par 72 that included six birdies. He matched that birdie total on Saturday, but this time only had one bogey.
“I had a lot of driver/wedge holes today, and I had excellent distance control on my wedges,” said the young long hitter. “This course doesn’t seem to penalize you that much for not hitting the fairway, so I might as well use my driver when I can. I probably hit less than half the fairways in regulation, but I hit a lot of greens. I also had a good putting round today,” Gregory said. “I didn’t have any 3-putts. My only bogey was on the par-3 15th hole.”
Gregory, said he is ready to make a charge for the title in the final round.
“I feel good,” he said. “I just plan on coming back here [Sunday], play another good round and not stress over anything.”
Meanwhile, Hope wants to end his hard-luck streak in this tournament by finally breaking through for a victory. He’s always in contention and finished second twice by losing in playoffs.
“I thought the course played difficult today,” Hope said. “I had three birdies and just two bogeys. Most of the strokes I lost today were with my putter. I hit 14 greens, but I missed some five-foot birdie attempts. My goal was to keep the big numbers off the card, and I’m ready to try my best again to win this.”
Bates, who won this event in 2012, made a big change in his putting style that kick-started his second round.
“I putted so badly my first four holes. I missed three putts inside of six feet,” he said. “So I started looking at the hole when I putted instead of looking at the ball. I was trying anything to change things up, and it worked. I was also very relaxed playing with one of my old buddies, Shaun Miller. I figured if I could knock off half the amount of my deficit today and the other half on Sunday, I’ve got a chance.”
The highlight of the round for the Skidmore College graduate and multiple club champion at Mohawk Golf Club was an eagle on the 12th hole.
Meanwhile, Mueller, who recorded two birdies to offset a pair of bogeys, remained in contention despite not playing well by his standards.
“It was a total grind, just like in my first round,” he said. “I’m really not playing that well this year at all.”
In the women’s division, both Scatena and Kroll bogeyed the first extra hole, but Scatena reached the par-5 second playoff hole in two and neatly two-putted for birdie to defeat Kroll, the seven-time NEWGA champion and former NYS Women’s Senior Amateur titlist.
“This feels delightful,” Scatena said. “I never played this course before until I played a nine-hole practice round earlier this week. This course is a little hidden jewel. During my 75 today I just tried to swing easy. At the end of the round, I knew I needed that last putt on the 18th hole to catch Nancy. During the playoff, I had mixed emotions, because Nancy and I are good friends, and I enjoy playing golf with her. I haven’t played that many tournaments.”
Tyler Gregory 67-139, Lance Hope 71-140, Jim Mueller 72-145, Ben Bates 70-145, Kyle Adams 74-146, Jim Gifford 74-146, Chris Gilbert 72-147, Mark Chylinski 75-148, Alex Olbrych 72-148, Bob Cooper 75-148, Mike Dwyer 74-149, Aaron Simone 75-149, Greg Bennett 74-150, Kevin Broderick 75-151, Joe Fitzsimmons 8-152, Rob Bigley Jr. 76-153, Chad Stoffer 78-153, Nick Braman 78-154, Eric Wasserbach 75-154, Paul Pratico 78-155, Seth Adams 81-155, Carter Flanigan 79-156, Mike Stopera 77-156, Glenn Stopera 83-157, Todd Czepiel 78-157, Nicholas Roney 78-157, Connor Adams 78-157, Tom Salmon 82-158, Joshua Powers 78-158, Tony Cristello 76-158, Jim Welch 79-159, Matt McCaffrey 78-159, Dan Ireland 76-159, Andrew Weise 83-159, Ryan Tatlock 81-160, Michael Kelly 83-160, Tim Potter 78-160, Mike Drake 81-161, Jerry Brescia 78-161, Mike Wheeler 83-161, Rich Duff 82-162, Mike Mina 81-163, Jim Gardy 83-165, Jay Taub 82-165, Tim Flanigan 7-165, Tim Bean 84-166, Ron Cohen 80-167, Mark Compton 84-168, Adam Cahill 84-168, Sean Mallia 90-168, Walt Peretti 89-168, Ross Lackey 87-168, Paul Hart 82-168, David Smith 88-169, Matt Rentz 86-170, John Mendrysa 82-170, Mike Pollock 87-171, Greg Wyman 89-172, Carl Gilbert 86-173, Brandon Alois 87-173, Dan Giovannangelo 88-174, Andy Bennett 85-174, Jason Nagel 87-175, Peter Davis 86-176, Paul Carnivale 87-176, Jim Fazio 87-176, Salem Jacobsen 85-177, John Courter 91-179, Chris DiCocco 88-179, Jason Hoch 88-180, Chris Stopera 88-183, Patrick Thornton 93-186, Don Dobbs 88-188, Matt Wilgocki 92-190, Shaun Miller 98-191, Brandon Roberts 94-192, Mike DiGiloramo 98-192, Steven Caiazza 95-197, Eric Borden 100-200, Joe Cimmino WD.
7:00 — Tony Cristello, Josh Powers. 7:08 — Tom Salmon, Connor Adams. 7:16 — Todd Czepiel, Nicholas Roney. 7:24 — Glenn Stopera, Mike Stopera. 7:32 — Carter Flanigan-Seth Adams. 7:40 — Eric Wasserbach, Paul Pratico. 7:48 — Chad Stoffer, Nick Braman. 7:56 — Rob Bigley Jr., Joe Fitzsimmons. 8:04 — Greg Bennett, Kevin Broderick. 8:12 — Mike Dwyer, Aaron Simone. 8:20 — Alex Olbrych, Bob Cooper. 8:28 — Mark Chylinski, Chris Gilbert. 8:36 — Kyle Adams, Jim Gifford. 8:44 — Ben Bates, Jim Mueller. 8:52 — Tyler Gregory, Lance Hope.
x-Mary Scatena 75-157, Nancy Kroll 79-157, Rachel Barlette 78-160, Anne Poulin 81-168, Kathy Duguay 83-171, Mary Ann Keeler 86-175, Kathy Canestrini 87-176, Mary Corrigan 90-184, Deb DiMaggio 93-185, Cherie Bramley 92-189, Noreen Leonard 91-190, Carol Aiello 101-WD.
x-Won on second playoff hole
Low net: Keeler 135, Poulin 140, Kroll 141, Scatena 141, Barlette 142, Canestrini 146.
The Troy Invitational, a 54-hole event considered one of the Capital Region’s top major events for male scratch amateurs, will be played next Friday through Sunday at the Country Club of Troy.
Brookhaven Golf Club hosts the next Eastern New York Golf Association event on Wednesday.
Normanside Country Club hosts the New York State Open qualifier on Thursday for both local amateurs and club professionals.
Stadium Golf Club will begin its junior golf league again on Mondays or Wednesdays beginning the week of July 1. Cost is $165 and includes driving range punch card, greens fee, prizes and lunch on the last day. On Mondays, head pro Jack Madej will conduct a clinic for the juniors that are not “golf ready” on the course. The Madej clinics, which will run at the same time as the league, also cost $165. Contact Stadium Golf Club for more information at 518-374-9104
There are still three openings for the afternoon shotgun and six openings for the morning shotgun in the annual ALS Memorial Open June 26 at Van Patten Golf Club. The annual raffle ticket for the tournament this year is a back yard barbecue package. Contact Van Patten GC for more information.
Jae Cinquanti aced the 14th hole with an 8-iron at Rolling Hills at Antlers.
Jack Stopera used a 9-iron for his hole-in-one on the 125-yard fourth hole at Shaker Ridge Country Club.
At Amsterdam Municipal Golf Course, Joe Thrailkill aced the 16th hole using an 8-iron.
Joe Bradley recorded his fourth career ace with a 5-wood on the 173-yard ninth hole at Airway Meadows Golf Club.
Joe Carville eagled the first hole and Ed Nevulis eagled the 10th hole at Rolling Hills at Antlers.
Kurt Blemel eagled the par-4 13th hole with a 5-wood at Stadium Golf Club.